First class cricket

Reading Mary Heaney's piece in The Lawyer 27 September 1994, took my mind back 30 years to a time when, as a schoolboy, I was avidly studying 'Wisden' and other works on cricket and taking an interest in all the names which appeared, including those of batsmen from the universities.

The name of FW Neate is one which has remained in my memory, particularly because he appeared to be one of the few Oxford and Cambridge University cricketers of that era, particularly the successful ones, who did not, even for a short period, appear in the County Championship.

The article on Neate shows clearly the dilemma in which he was obviously placed and provides a possible explanation of why he was an exception to the general practice.

You may be interested to know that Neate appeared for Oxford University in three seasons, winning a Blue in 1961 and 1962.

His annus mirabilis was 1961, in which he scored 712 runs at an average of 54.76, with a century against Hampshire. In that season he finished seventh in the national averages, an achievement made more considerable by the fact that the only Englishman above him was Ken Barrington.

I have no doubt that Neate was too modest to air these facts. Nonetheless, he made his mark upon the first class cricket scene and any batsman who has been described as "a model of consistency" by 'Wisden' should be recognised.

D Haley

Assistant solicitor

Preston Borough Council

Lancashire